COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. It is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health.
Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work can put people’s health at risk, causing diseases including asthma, dermatitis, or cancer. The COSHH regulations require employers to control substances that can harm workers’ health.

Examples of COSHH Substances
COSHH covers substances that are hazardous to health. Substances can take many forms and include:

  • Chemicals
  • Products containing chemicals
  • Fumes
  • Dusts
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Gases and asphyxiating gases
  • Biological agents (germs). If the packaging has any of the hazard symbols then it is classed as a hazardous substance.
  • Germs that cause diseases such as leptospirosis or legionnaires disease and germs used in laboratories.

It is worth noting that COSHH does not cover; lead, asbestos or radioactive substances. If you would like more information on Asbestos Awareness we have relevant courses here.

COSHH Control Measures
The objective of COSHH is to prevent or to adequately control, exposure to substances hazardous to health, so as to prevent ill health.

You can do this by:

  • Using control equipment, eg total enclosure, partial enclosure
  • Controlling procedures, eg ways of working, supervision, and training to reduce exposure, maintenance, examination, and testing of control measures;
  • Worker behaviour, making sure employees follow the control measures.

Once control measures are in place, the COSHH requires employers to monitor how effective these measures are. Methods of monitoring can include recording any accidents or injuries that occur despite control measures, testing for bacteria on surfaces, and monitoring air quality.

COSHH Principles
The HSE highlights the principles of ‘good control practice’ as being a crucial part to obtain effective and reliable control. Measures include:

  • Minimise emission, release and spread.
  • Consider routes of exposure.
  • Choose control measures proportionate to the risk.
  • Choose effective control options.
  • Personal protective equipment – the final control option.
  • Review the effectiveness of controls.
  • Provide information and training.
  • New measures, new risks.

Employees must also be properly informed, trained, and supervised. Regular training is imperative to maintain the learning.
Knowing how to equip your workplace with the appropriate health and safety procedures in order to keep employees safe whilst at work can often be challenging. This is why following a robust training system like Alpha Compliance Training can help keep your business protected by law and know that you have done everything in your power to keep your staff as safe as possible. If you are interested in a free demo of one of our courses jut get in touch with us.

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